Apr 12, 2024  
General Catalog 2023-2024 
General Catalog 2023-2024

English-Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option, M.A.

Master of Arts in English Degree Requirements

Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option

The Master of Arts program in English, Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option, serves several categories of students: those teaching high school and community college, those anticipating doctoral studies, those studying creative or expository writing, and those simply interested in extending and intensifying the knowledge acquired in their undergraduate studies.

Admission. Admission to the Master of Arts program in English assumes preparation equivalent to an undergraduate major in English or a related field in the liberal arts. Students who do not already have a bachelor’s degree in English may be required to take upper-division undergraduate courses as preparation to attain classified standing and before being allowed to enroll in English graduate seminars.

To achieve classified standing, both English and non-English majors must have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better in their major. International students must also submit IELTS or TOEFL scores. A minimum Band 7 score is required on the IELTS; minimum Band scores of 7 are also required in the Writing and Reading subsections. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 94 is required; minimum scores of 22 in the Reading subsection and 24 in the Writing subsection are also required.

In addition, all candidates must submit a writing sample to the graduate committee, whose approval is necessary for admission to the program. This writing sample is due to the department by April 15 for admission the following fall semester, or by Oct.15 for admission the following spring. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early in the previous semester as possible for eligibility for Admissions, Financial Aid, and Teaching Associateships.

The admission writing sample should be devoted to a sustained analysis (8-12 pages in length) of a text or related texts; it should demonstrate comprehensibility in exposition and clear and logical organization and presentation of ideas. It should establish a sound scholarly argument with thorough and complete documentation. The critical analysis should be modeled on MLA style guidelines and will reflect a knowledge and awareness of contemporary analytical theory in rhetoric, literary, or writing studies. The admission writing sample will be evaluated by members of the English Department to determine whether the applicant is denied entry into the M.A. program or admitted under either Classified or Conditionally Classified Standing. After understanding suggested coursework and obtaining no less than a B in such course(s), those admitted under Conditionally Classified Standing will be given one opportunity to submit one additional revised or new writing sample for review. If the second writing sample is not approved, the candidate will not be admitted into the program.


Under the direction of a graduate advisor, each student prepares and submits a coherent program individually designed within the following framework:

Total: 30 Units

ENGL 205  should be completed during the first year of a student’s program of study. The maximum number of combined ENGL 290  and ENGL 291  units that may be applied to a student’s program is 4 units. Students will usually enroll in ENGL 299  (2 units each) over two consecutive semesters.

Electives may be selected from outside departments in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

Specific Requirements

Teaching Requirement. At some period before the completion of the M.A. Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option, the candidate must be engaged in teaching or co-teaching a course with a strong writing component. While most candidates would be teaching in the English Department, other teaching assignments will apply in consultation with the instructor of ENGL 282A  . Enrollment in ENGL 282A   should take place in the same semesters that the student is fulfilling the teaching requirement.

Language Requirement: The English Department requires candidates for the M.A. in English -Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English. This requirement can be satisfied at the undergraduate or graduate level through two years (four semesters) of coursework in a modern language other than English, one year (two semesters) of coursework in classical languages, or by taking a translation examination approved by the English Department. Students must satisfy this requirement prior to advancing to candidacy.

Graduate Writing Skills Requirement: The university mandates that M.A. candidates demonstrate the ability to write “commensurate with society’s expectations of persons who hold advanced degrees” and “in formats and styles appropriate to their disciplines.” In order to comply with this requirement, the department evaluates a sample essay that emerges from work in a graduate seminar. Evaluation can occur at any point once the program has begun; it must be met before the candidate can advance to candidacy and thus qualify to write a culminating project. Students must satisfy this requirement prior to advancing to candidacy.

Consult the graduate advisor every semester for program planning.